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Rk Team
Overall W-L
Week W-L
Hit List Factor
Trend
Comment

1


Mets
13-7
3-3
.686
Down

“Super Excited”–that’s Pedro Martinez‘s description of his recovery thus far, and the rest of the Mets have their own reasons for extreme cheer. Though Mike Pelfrey‘s hold on the fifth spot is officially tenuous, the remainder of the rotation has combined for a 2.94 ERA and 13 quality starts out of 17. Prior to Pelfrey’s drubbing on Wednesday, they’d scored nearly twice as many runs as they’d allowed (111 to 58), and even still, they lead the league in both per-game categories. That’s as solid a recipe for Hit List success as there is.

2


Red Sox
14-7
5-2
.658
Down

Though hardly as emphatic as the outcomes would suggest (and nowhere near full payback for last August’s massacre), the Sox make a statement by sweeping the Yankees over the weekend. They open the series by subduing Mariano Rivera and cap the sweep with four consecutive homers off hapless Chase Wright. But even with a three-hit game in the finale–including the first home run of the streak–Manny Ramirez continues to scuffle (.192/.297/.282), leading one to wonder if he’s taken to being Manny Alexander.

3


Blue Jays
11-10
3-3
.596
Up

Call the Doctor: Roy Halladay helps the Jays shake off a five-game losing streak by sharpening his hook and whiffing 10 Red Sox. Doc is tops in the AL in pitching VORP (13.1), though with Ramon Ortiz and Chad Gaudin ranked directly below him, perhaps it’s a bit early to be getting excited. Speaking of docs, the Jays have almost matched last year’s total of disabled players now that Gregg Zaun is out with a hand fracture that requires surgery. Worse, B.J. Ryan has been transferred to the 60-day DL, sidelining him until at least mid-June.

4


Dodgers
13-9
2-4
.569
Down

A four-game losing streak takes a bit of luster off the Dodgers’ fastest start since 2005, and while that one didn’t turn out so happily, nearly every other comparable start did. Rafael Furcal is off to a sluggish start (.211/.262/.246), and Juan Pierre‘s .283 OBP is doing nobody any good at the top of the lineup. Grady Little would do beter to return Russell Martin (.338/.419/.507) to the #2 spot; good things happen when he’s at the plate.

5


Padres
12-10
3-3
.567
Up

Jake Peavy strikes out nine Diamondbacks in a row, falling one strike shy of matching Tom Seaver’s major league record. But despite whiffing 16 in seven innings, Peavy can only watch as Trevor Hoffman blows his first save since The Four-Home Run Game (sorry, Sox fans, it’s no comparison in terms of degree of difficulty). Elsewhere, David Wells wins a Battle for the Ages: at 87 years, 300 days, his matchup with Randy Johnson is the oldest-ever duel of venerable lefties.

6


Brewers
13-8
4-2
.567
Up

Off to their best start since 1998, and atop the NL Central, thanks in part to J.J. Hardy bashing five homers in a five-game span. It’s unfamiliar territory for these Brewers, who are suddenly falling all over themselves and into each other. Even Ben Sheetslatest setback might have a silver lining if it results in a chance for Yovani Gallardo, who’s blowing ’em away in Nashville, as Kevin Goldstein reports.

7


Indians
12-7
6-1
.563
Up

Haf Time: since April 17, Travis Hafner is hitting .529/.636/.912 with four homers. Josh Barfield is at the other end of the thermometer, mired in a 1-for-27 slump that has dropped his line to .117/.159/.200. Also stuck is Andy Marte (.179) he had to sit down due to a hamstring strain. The injury shifts Casey Blake back to third base and carves out more playing time for Ryan Garko, who respons with go-ahead hits in back-to-back games. Meanwhile, Fausto Carmona does the unlikely, breaking a personal 11-game losing streak against Johan Santana in the Metrodome.

8


Braves
13-8
3-3
.548
Down

Home(r) of the Braves: thanks to Chipper Jones‘ seven and Kelly Johnson‘s five, the Braves lead the majors in longballs. They’ve outhomered opponents 29-16, with the bullpen surrendering just two in 63.2 innings of work. Johnson’s proving to be a more than adequate replacement for Marcus Giles; he’s hitting .306/.438/.569. Stat Sheet Double Take of the Week: Jeff Francoeur has twice as many walks (eight) as homers (four), helping him to a healthy .284/.352/.506 line.

9


Tigers
12-9
3-3
.546
Up

Despite a 3.18 ERA and a 29/4 K/BB in 34 innings, Jeremy Bonderman has yet to record a decision. His string of four straight quality starts with lousy run support (2.5 per game) comes to an end, but a pep talk from his pitching coach helps the Tiger hurler settle down amid a shellacking. More surprising is Chad Durbin getting his ERA into the single digits (6.65) by tossing eight shutout innings against the White Sox.

10


Giants
12-8
6-0
.534
Up

With eight straight wins, the Giants are suddenly alive and well in the NL West. Barry Bonds is up to 741 homers, not that he wants to talk about it, and in any event, the real conversation piece is the rotation. Matt Cain has allowed just six hits and three runs over his last three starts, and while Matt Morris (2.49 ERA) and Noah Lowry (3.38 ERA) are both keeping runs off the board, the fact that both have walked as many as they’ve struck out–4.3 and 4.4 per nine, respectively–suggests a correction’s around the corner.

11


White Sox
11-9
4-2
.533
Up

Like scores of pitchers who came before him, Mark Buehrle fails to match Johnny Vander Meer‘s feat of consecutive no-hitters, but he’s still stifling opponents, having allowed just 12 hits in 24.1 innings. Speaking of no hitting, the Sox’s .229 batting average is less than one point out of last place among the 30 teams, and if you removed Jim Thome (.340/.553/.680), you’d have to quarantine the rest and burn their uniforms. Five regulars are hitting .224 or lower, including Punty Erstad, who’s needed a four-game bender just to bring his overall line up to .224/.277/.303.

12


Cubs
8-13
2-4
.525
Up

Mark Prior goes under the knife, where Dr. Jim Andrews repairs his labrum, rotator cuff, and shoulder capsule; let’s hope he sprayed for termites, too. Will Carroll calls the findings “a very negative result for Prior,” who’s done for 2007 and likely finished in Chicago as well. That, coupled with a 2-6 slide, has Lou Piniella in no mood to talk. In happier news, Nate Silver sees more Felix Pie on the Cubs’ plate.

13


Orioles
11-11
3-4
.519
Down

After matching last year’s 11-7 start–the only points at which they’ve been four games over .500 since July 23, 2005–the Birds promptly fall off their perch by losing four straight. Putative staff ace Erik Bedard is knocked around for the third time in five starts; his ERA stands at 6.11. Meanwhile, the revamped bullpen may be getting the ink, but in Boston, at least, they’re making the stink–seven earned runs in 5.1 frames, blowing leads in both games. Amid that debacle, Oriole broadcaster Gary Thorne creates a bloody mess by alleging that Curt Schilling‘s famous sock was a hoax, but it turns out that was just, um, a misunderstanding.

14


Phillies
9-12
5-2
.512
Up

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have a Pulse: after winning just four of their first 15 games, the Phils reel off five straight victories. Cole Hamels tosses a 15-strikeout gem, Freddy Garcia shows marked improvement, and Jon Lieber falls one out short of giving the Phils quality starts in his first two turns of the season. Forget Jimmy Rollins‘ eight home runs; even more notable is Brett Myersfirst-ever Hold–who says that move to the bullpen isn’t paying off?

15


Angels
12-10
6-1
.510
Up

After a solid showing in his first start in nearly nine months, Bartolo Colon shakes off a mild ankle sprain and blows away 11 Devil Rays in the sequel while consistently reaching the mid-90s with his heater. On the other hand, Jered Weaver is mauled by Tigers, but even at 9.39, his ERA still isn’t as high as his brother’s (13.91). Also rather out of character is the bullpen, which has allowed 16 earned runs in its past 22.1 innings, though the team is 6-1 in that span.

16


Athletics
11-11
3-4
.509
Down

No Matter What Shape Your Ballclub’s In: shoulder woes send Rich Harden to the DL, and he’s got company in Milton Bradley, who might be out a month due to a recurrent hamstring strain. As if that weren’t bad enough, Nick Swisher has hammy issues of his own, to say nothing of the other outfielders impersonating a M.A.S.H. unit. Dallas Braden produces a sterling debut (6 3 1 1 1 6 W) in Harden’s stead, but even that good news is clouded by jilted starter Brad Halsey burning the mother down over the way the team has handled his arm troubles.

17


Yankees
8-12
0-6
.509
Down

Swept in Fenway and the Trop, the Yanks tumble into last place in the AL East, the first time they’ve been this low this late since 1997. Don’t blame Alex Rodriguez, who continues to set a blistering pace, with 14 homers in his first 18 games. Blame a bullpen which puts up a 6.64 ERA in the six losses and is now second-to-last in the majors in WXRL. Blame a makeshift rotation which still isn’t averaging five innings per start. Top prospect Philip Hughes becomes the fifth rookie to start for the team, but his debut is pretty much par for the course (4.1 7 4 4 1 5 L).

18


Twins
12-10
2-5
.488
Down

Johan Santana drops back-to-back starts at home for the first time since 2004, while the Twins simply lose their fizz. Torii Hunter‘s champagne gift to the Royals falls flat, and the team dumps a weekend series in Kansas City. Dimples Ponson proves the big, bad K.C. lineup can cuff him around in either city; his ERA now stands at 8.44, and he’s put up as many quality starts as Jason Tyner has hit home runs: nearly one. Just in case Terry Ryan is awake, we’ll note that Kevin Slowey (0.96 ERA), Glen Perkins (1.50) and Scott Baker (1.61) are all ripping it up in Rochester, with Slowey’s 20/1 K/BB especially impressive.

19


Reds
10-12
2-4
.473
Down

Junior Jacks: Ken Griffey Jr. hits his 564th home run, passing Reggie Jackson for 10th place on the all-time list; it was Griffey’s first homer of the year in 51 at-bats. Josh Hamilton is only 558 behind Griffey, but as he still leads the team in homers and is slugging .723, manager Jerry Narron is scrambling to find the Rule 5 pick at-bats at all three outfield spots.

20


Cardinals
10-11
4-2
.471
Up

A better week for the Cardinals than it appears at first glance, with Albert Pujols (.391/.462/.609 for the week) and Scott Rolen (.409/.480/.727) finally starting to hit, and Chris Duncan (.343/.403/.586 overall) continuing his hot streak. Chris Carpenter tests his elbow, and while he’s not out of the woods yet, that beats the alternative. The rotation desperately needs him; they’re 13th in the league in SNLVAR (1.1), and aside from Braden Looper (1.91 ERA and the second-best VORP among NL pitchers at 12.6), putting up a 5.28 ERA.

21


Marlins
10-11
4-2
.464
Up

The Fish continue to score runs, with Hanley Ramirez (.366/.464/.620) leading the way; he’s second in the NL in VORP (15.4). He’s not getting much help from Miguel Cabrera, who’s hitting just .188/.212/.281 over his last nine games while being hampered by a mild oblique strain. Worse, the Marlins are giving up runs faster than they score ’em; the rotation’s collective ERA is now 5.81, and they’re a dead-in-the-water 30th in SNLVAR (-0.5).

22


Diamondbacks
12-11
2-4
.457
Down

Those Who Are Late Do Not Get Fruit Cup: Randy Johnson‘s belated 2007 debut is a forgettable one (5 6 6 6 4 7 L), while Carlos Quentin endures an 0-for-17 after getting four hits in his first two games of the year. With seven losses in eight games against their division rivals, the Snakes are helping to make the NL West that much more wild. Meanwhile, we have to ask the prospect hypesters: does Dana Eveland ever get anybody out? Through 59.2 big-league innings, his ERA stands at 7.39.

23


Astros
9-12
1-6
.446
Down

No humdrum win-one, lose-one mediocrity for Phil Garner’s bunch. This team is determined to keep streaking in one direction or another, as if to demonstrate some newfound Newtonian Law: a ballclub that’s losing keeps losing, a ballclub that’s winning keeps winning, and so a six-game losing skid follows runs of 0-4 and 9-2. Just as Craig Biggio starts to show signs of life (.318/.400/.682 on the week), the rest of the offense decides it’s Adam Everett Appreciation Week and hits .223/.308/.296 in tribute.

24


Rockies
9-13
2-4
.439
Down

Where did you say this team plays again? The Rox have been outhomered 18-8, and their .358 slugging percentage is 28th among the 30 teams. Garrett Atkins and Matt Holliday are the only hitters with more than one home run; Holliday (.393/.438/.551) leads the league in batting average. Troy Tulowitzki is off to a slow start (.185/.274/.246), but at least he’s still in the lineup; the same can’t be said for fellow rookie Chris Iannetta, who’s losing at-bats to Yorvit Torrealba after starting the season 4-for-32.

25


Pirates
10-10
4-2
.434
Down

Holm on the Range: the Pirates finally get their first home win of the year behind Paul Maholm, and if you think that 0-4 start at PNC was commonplace, consider that the last time it happened to the Bucs was 1898, two years before Honus Wagner‘s arrival. Adam LaRoche continues to struggle (.114/.250/.257), though one of his two hits helps the Pirates end a 16-inning marathon.

26


Mariners
8-9
3-3
.431
Down

Swabbing the Poop Deck: sans Felix Hernandez–who’s on the DL but has experienced no setbacks since leaving his April 18 start–the Mariner rotation has been so awful (0.6 SNLVAR, 7.44 Fair Run Average) that the entire bullpen’s leverage score is just 0.45. Per Keith Woolner’s work in Baseball Between the Numbers, that’s roughly equivalent to starting the seventh inning down by three runs, though asking the Mariner starters to get you that far is a tall order without King Felix. All of which explains why it took J.J. Putz until April 23 to log his first save, and why the other Mariner relievers generally warm up with a mop and bucket instead of a mitt and ball.

27


Devil Rays
9-13
3-4
.407
Down

“Some days you’re the windshield, and some days you’re the bug, and we happened to be the bug,” says ever-quotable manager Joe Maddon, and while he was talking about his team’s two defeats at the hands of the Angels, his words accurately describe a pitching staff which is allowing 6.64 runs per game. The bullpen is a special kind of hell; while reclamation project/closer Al Reyes is second in the AL in WXRL (1.137), the rest of that unsightly bunch is at -1.874. Outhitting that onslaught will be that much more difficult without Akinori Iwamura (.339/.479/.482), whose oblique strain spells the return of Jorge Cantu.

28


Rangers
8-13
2-4
.387
Down

Going, Going, Gagne: a hip flexor strain sends Erig Gagne to his summer home–the DL–but at least the Rangers are paying enough attention to shut the big lug down rather than let him compromise his mechanics à la the 2005 Dodgers. In slightly happier news, Sammy Sosa sets a record by homering in his 44th big league ballpark, but his .239/.289/.535 line suggests his all-or-nothing approach is hardly striking fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers.

29


Royals
7-15
3-4
.366
Up

Zack Greinke has a a strange way of saying thanks-but-no-thanks for Torii Hunter‘s champagne gift, but beyond that, the Royals’ once and future ace appears to be back on track after an ugly pair of starts. Speaking of wunderkinds, Alex Gordon is hitting just .147/.266/.279 and has struck out in 33.8 percent of his at-bats.

30


Nationals
7-15
2-4
.307
Down

Return of Da Meathook: though the Nats’ offense has been south of pathetic–they’ve been outhomered 26-11 and are averaging just 3.3 runs per game–Dmitri Young has been a modest surprise at first base, hitting .260/.376/.468. Besides him and Ryan Church (.291/.364/.519), there’s little to write home about beyond Felipe Lopez‘s entry in the Museum of Batting Lines You Don’t See Every Day: .300/.363/.333. At least there’s good news regarding Nick Johnson: he’s ahead of schedule in his rehab from a fractured femur, and on track for a June return.

The Prospectus Hit List rankings are derived from Won-Loss records and several measurements pertaining to run differentials, both actual and adjusted, from Baseball Prospectus Adjusted Standings through the close of play on every Sunday.